Matthew D. Bauer
Licensed Acupuncturist and Author of
"The Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture"

 

Matthew D. Bauer
Matthew D. Bauer, L.Ac.



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Taoism

Taoism is the oldest surviving philosophic system of thought native to China. It evolved slowly over countless generations when Hunter-Gatherers lived as one with nature before settled (civilized) life began. The following exert is from my book “The Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture; A Complete Guide to Timeless Traditions and Modern Practice”, that offers a brief synopsis of Taoist thought. I quote the famous Taoist Sage, Lao-Tzu; the wise man who said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”These quotes are taken from my teacher's translation. My teacher; Hua-Ching Ni, also known as Master Ni or, recently, Omni, is the West's most prolific author on Taoist subjects having written more than 40 books since the later 1970's. His books can be found at www.sevenstar.com

From Chapter 5, pages 74-77:

One of the foundations of modern science is the value it places on objectivity. Scientists strive to remain as objective as possible, making their observations without pre-conceived notions. As highly as pure objectivity is prized however, it is virtually impossible to escape the influence of ones pervading cultural prejudices. We seem destined to have our vision stained by the subjective cultural dogma of whatever society and bit of time we happen to be born into as such factors permeate the basic perspectives with which we view the world around us. We are taught these belief systems as tiny children, along with our survival skills, before we have any chance to weigh such beliefs for ourselves in a mature fashion. Even Einstein was unable to see thru old dogma when he failed to explore the possibility that the “fixed stars” are not fixed and that the universe is expanding.

Taoist folk history teaches that our early modern human ancestors were highly intelligent yet extremely innocent beings. For countless generations, they learned survival skills from their elders, but no one told them how to think of the world around them in any judgmental way because no one had yet formed such judgments. Taoists came to revere their pre-historic ancestors because they thought of them as humankind's only truly objective generations - free from the cultural prejudices that would dominate later times. Master Ni refers to these primitive beings as the only “true scientists” - meaning the only completely objective observers of nature. Over time these innocent beings did reach some conclusions about nature and humankind's place within the big scheme of things. They were the only era of humans to do this on their own – without being told how to apply their conscious judgment before they had matured enough to reach their own conclusions. The conclusions these true scientists reached would form the basis of what later generations would label “Taoism.”

“Tao, as the absolute Truth of the universe, is elusive and evasive.

Though it is elusive and evasive, it unveils itself as images and forms.

Evasive and elusive, it discloses itself as indefinable substance.

Shadowy and indistinct, it reveals itself as impalpable subtle essence.

This essence is so subtle and yet is so real.

It is the primary origin of the whole of creation.

It existed prior to the earliest time and only its name is new.”

Excerpt from Chapter 21 of Master Ni's translation of the Tao Teh Ching.

Lao Tzu is often identified as the founder of Taoism. While he may have been the first to use the term “Tao” in its current context, he traced his lineage back to the Sages long before the Yellow Emperor. This lineage extends back into the age of the innocent minded objective observers of nature who became aware of the evasive and elusive impalpable subtle essence that constitutes the primary origin of the whole of creation and would only later be identified as “Tao.”

“Before Heaven-and-Earth are born,

there is something formless and complete in itself.

Impalpable and everlasting, silent and undisturbed, standing alone and unchanging,

it exercises itself absolutely and generates itself inexhaustively in all dimensions.

It may be regarded as the Mother of all things.

Far beyond mankind's relative mental comprehension,

it can be referred to by no specific name.

Yet it may be identified as Tao,

the absolute nature of the universe.”

Excerpt from Chapter 25 of Master Ni's translation of the Tao Teh Ching.

The Sages concluded that the manner in which the Tao “exercises itself”, generating all around us, can be traced to the interaction between polar forces they ended up calling “yin” and “yang”. This conclusion was heavily influenced by the factors we have considered throughout this book: the sun and moon, the two genders among species, etc. The process of generation was also called the “Mystical Intercourse” of yin and yang.

“The subtle essence of the universe is eternal.

It is like an unfailing fountain of life

which flows forever in a vast and profound valley.

It is called the Primal Female, the Mysterious Origin.

The operation of the opening and closing

of the subtle Gate of the Origin

performs the Mystical Intercourse of the universe.

The Mystical Intercourse brings forth all things from the unseen sphere

into the realm of the manifest.

The Mystical Intercourse of yin and yang is the root of universal life.

Its creativity and effectiveness are boundless.”

Chapter 6 of Master Ni's translation of the Tao Teh Ching.

While the Sages' objective observation of the constant ebb and flow of nature – the rising and setting sun, the waxing and waning moon, the shifting tides, the changing seasons, etc., inspired their thoughts regarding the Tao and the polar forces of yin and yang, later generation's awareness of the Tao declined as emphasis began to be placed on physical/material developments. During this era, the rise of subjective concepts and subsequent loss of objectivity occurred.According to Taoist folk history, the rise of subjective concepts, more than any other factor, marked the decline of the Golden Era of innocence.